Volunteer Spotlight on Harold Toppall!

Posted on February 15th, 2018 by

Post by Volunteer Coordinator Wendy Davis. Periodically we highlight one of our fantastic JMM volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering with the JMM, send an email to Sue Foard at sfoard@jewishmuseummd.org or call 443-873-5162! You can also get more information about volunteering at the Museum here.

Make sure to say hi to Harold at the front desk!

Harold Toppall joined the Jewish Museum of Maryland volunteer corps in November.  His friendliness and attention to details have proven to be wonderful assets for our museum.  His background is working for the IRS in the tax exempt organization area.  When he heard about the volunteer opportunities at JMM, a tax exempt organization, he considered it a good fit. He now volunteers at the front desk, enjoying meeting people, having conversations with them and learning where they come from.

Since Harold enjoys working with numbers, he also fills his volunteer time entering volunteer hours and compiling responses to visitor’s questionnaires into the computer.  After retiring from IRS, Harold prepared tax returns in the private sector for several years and then operated his own tax return preparation business for four years.

Harold enjoys reading mysteries and suspense thrillers and has travelled extensively with his wife, Marcia.  He hails originally from Albany, NY, and has lived in Buffalo, NY, Newark and Old Bridge, NJ, and Silver Spring, MD.  He came to Maryland in 1979 and to Pikesville in 2003.  His daughter and son and their families live in Maryland and Virginia.  We are very thankful that Harold moved to the Baltimore area and chose to donate his time and efforts to the JMM!

 

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Postcards for Paige

Posted on January 19th, 2018 by

Last fall Paige Woodhouse joined our team as Visitor Services Manager.  Following in the tradition of “Dear Abby” (Abby Krolik) and “Greetings Graham” (Graham Humphrey), this month Paige introduces the quarterly feature, “Postcards for Paige”, giving us a chance to answer commonly asked questions about how to make the most out of your visit to the Jewish Museum of Maryland. (All the answers are real, the postcards are dubious… but these days, who knows?)


 

Postcard Reads:

Dear Paige,

Planning is my passion. I love to come to the Museum’s public programs so I plan my visit ahead of time. I buy my tickets online to print and bring with me. I always leave my house early to get a good seat for the lecture. However, with the wintery weather that we are having, another “bomb cyclone” could throw a wrench in my plan! What if I come to the museum for the planned program and it’s closed? How do I find out if the Museum is closed, opening late, or closing early because of the weather?

From,

Phrenetic about Precipitation

 

Hi Phren,

Your organizational skills are outstanding! Alas, the weather sometimes interrupts our best-made plans. First, your safety is very important and we ask that you don’t take any risks in unsafe conditions to come to a program. With that said, sometimes we do have to close the Museum, open a little late, or close a wee bit early. During the week, for the first day of inclement weather we follow whatever the Baltimore City Schools are doing. After the first day, or on Sundays, we make the decision ourselves. You can find those updates on our website’s front page: www.jewishmuseummd.org and on our social media.

Keep warm out there,

~ Paige

 


 

Postcard Reads:

Dear Paige,

This winter cold is getting to me. I need something to liven things up! I need some music to get me moving, or a few films to get my family out of the house. Maybe even some performances to get my blood pumping. Can you help me?

Sincerely,

Looking to Liven Things Up

 

Hey Looking,

Seems as if cabin fever might be getting to you. Lucky for you, we have just the program to spice up your winter! Escape from your house this February and March and experience JMM Live. From music to film to dramatic living history performances, the Museum will be celebrating the impact Jewish Americans have had on the performing arts. Check out the great line-up of events here. I bet you will be able to find something to liven up your long winter!

~ Paige


 

Postcard Reads:

Hi Paige:

I wanted to let you know how much my group enjoyed the exhibit Discovery & Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage. Everyone thought our docent was wonderful. She gave them a lot of the history to the exhibit and left them really excited to have been here. Thank you for making this a great day. We want to come back soon! What exhibits will be on next? Who do we contact? How much does it cost?

From,

Happy Campers

 

Dear Happy,

I am tickled pink to hear that your group had such a positive experience at the Museum! All the credit must go to our wonderful volunteer docents.

I would love to help you arrange for your group to come back. The Museum has an exciting schedule of exhibits coming this spring. From March 8th to 25th, the My Family Story Exhibition will be on display. This exhibit shows student’s projects that illustrate their personal exploration into their family history and connections to the Jewish Community. From April 8th to May 28th, the Museum will be the host of Amending America: The Bill of Rights, a travelling exhibit from the National Archives and Records Administration.

Can’t wait that long? We’ve added another exhibit to our schedule! A panel show from Yad Vashem in Israel, Beyond Duty: Diplomats Recognized as Righteous Among the Nations, will be on display beginning February 4th. Don’t forget that you can also go on a tour of our two historic synagogues during your visit.

To schedule your group, please send me an email at pwoodhouse@jewishmuseummd.org or call me at 410-873-5167, with the name of your group, contact information, number of people attending, and any special requirements. I will send you an intake form to complete, followed by a confirmation form with your scheduled itinerary and fee due on the date of your visit. How much does it cost to bring a group? For groups of 10 or more that reserve in advance, the cost is $5 per person.

I can’t wait to hear from you!

~ Paige


 

Postcard Reads:

Yo Paige,

I read in last week’s Sun that nearly all museums in this area are losing attendance.  How bad are things at JMM?

Where will I practice climbing stairs if all the museums go away?

~Sylvester S.

 

Mr. S.,

To quote Mark Twain, she said SLYly, “the rumors of our death are greatly exaggerated”.  2017 was a great year for JMM.  I just finished calculating the numbers and in 2017 our on-site attendance was up 26% overall from 2016 and our program attendance was up a whopping 48% year-over-year.  Every one of our exhibits, Remembering Auschwitz, Just Married! and Discovery and Recovery out-performed the same time frame in the prior year.  And JMM was not alone, several other small museums, not interviewed for the article, like our neighbors at the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House also had good years.

So my advice is don’t stay in the sun too long, exercise your mind as well as your feet by coming in off the steps and experiencing what’s keeping millions of Americans coming to museums.

~ Paige

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Celebrate your Special Day at the JMM!

Posted on May 26th, 2017 by

As this is the season for graduations, weddings and parties, I thought I would highlight how you can incorporate the JMM into your plans. Our facilities would be perfect for milestone celebrations, wedding ceremonies and receptions, luncheons, bar/bat mitzvahs, corporate receptions, holiday parties or meetings. We are only blocks away from Little Italy and the Inner Harbor with free parking nearby. We have several spaces which can be rented including Lloyd Street Synagogue, the Davidson Lobby and the Hendler Board Room.

Celebrating a bar mitzvah

Celebrating a bar mitzvah

For those who do not know, Lloyd Street Synagogue is the oldest synagogue in Maryland and the third oldest still standing in the country. In my two years at the museum, we have hosted Bar Mitzvahs in Lloyd Street Synagogue (including the great-great grandson of Rabb Avaham Schwartz who led Shomrei Mishmereth Ha Kodesh beginning in 1908 and remained its leader for the next thirty years). We have also hosted Bat Mitzvah celebrations, meetings, wedding anniversary dinners and even 90s’ themed Purim parties in our lobby.

Simcha in the historic Lloyd Street Synagogue

Simcha in the historic Lloyd Street Synagogue

While we are not able to hold events during Shabbat or during Jewish holidays, our space is generally available to rent before or after public hours, which is before 10 am or after 5 pm Sunday-Thursday. Lloyd Street Synagogue can seat an optimal 150, the Davidson Lobby can hold 75 seated or 150 standing and the Board Room can seat an optimal 20. We can provide 6ft and 8ft tables and black chairs at no additional charge and would also be glad to connect you with a list of kosher caterers.

AN evening event

AN evening event

If you would like to learn more about our rental policies, I would encourage you to visit our website. You can also email me or call 443-873-5167 to discuss availability and pricing. Keep in mind that we offer discounts to small synagogues and non-profits. I would also be more than happy to show you the spaces. We hope that you will consider having your event at the JMM!

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